Khotsa finished his higher Secondary School in the eastern part of the Bhutan. He was a good and average student, but there were so many things he lacked and that were but a big hurdle. He hailed from one of the most remote parts of the country; he was zero with the modern and foreign culture and custom particularly about the foods. His knowledge of the food was confined to the Asham (maize) kharang, ashum Bokpee (maize flour) and thug pa Yomree (porridge) of the typical eastern house and not beyond that. His only form of entertainment was but a shortwave radio which was also his constant companion during his time with the cattle in the jungles and recently a mobile phone which the village has been connected with by Bhutan telecom.
After the 12th standard, he was on his way to Thimphu- the busiest and biggest city of the country as every other student for higher studies. He had a friend, a close girl friend-karma; his class mate in his middle secondary school, which did not qualify after the 10th standard and was working in some private company in Phuntsholing. They were fortunately in contact through mobile phone.
Phuntsholing is the second biggest town in Bhutan. Life is completely opposite of the rural. It is noisy and busy. Even a small kid is influenced by the modern technology and modern gadgets. Everyone dresses like hipsters. Khotsa was surprised to see his class mate become one and he felt some kind of low and awkward in front of her. He felt inferior and cursed his fate for being born and raised in remote, his academic and bookish knowledge was helpless. But he hides all these from his friend and acted casually.
Khotsa was straight away taken to a restaurant for dinner by karma. He was amazed by the life at town. Although he has finished 12th standard, he was an alien in the town. He was amazed with the everyday life of a typical town.
Karma: “What will you take Khotsa? Take chowmin, its delicious! I just had dinner at home”
Khotsa: “Ok fine”
Khotsa has never eaten chowmin (noodle) and god only knew what it looked like and how it tasted. But he thought it’s not a big deal. They waited for the chowmin to come. They exchanged the memories at school and how life at town is different from the village, how people are being changed with the so called development, why every rural flock dreams of coming to urban in search for better life.
Just then the waiter bought a plate of chowmin with two phobs (bowl) of chili and tomato sauce on a nice and cleaned white ceramic tray along with it a fork and spoon. Khotsa thanked karma, he never used fork to take noodles and was uncomfortable, so he used spoon instead to take noodles. He had never tasted sauce and two cups of sauce was still at its rim. Just then he thought the sauce was but a kind of soup and with the help of spoon tasted a sip of it like a normal soup. Karma silently gave a sarcastic laugh and told Khotsa that it is but a sauce which is to be mixed with chowmin and eat. Khotsa was quick to give answer; so as to hide his foolishness. He told her that it was just to taste if he likes. He was blushed, but tried to hide it. He told the sauce did not taste good. Poor Khotsa had to finish the plate of dry chowmin alone and two bowls of sauce on the tray as it was.
Everything was screwed then; the incident robbed all the charm of night. He had always admired karma and that night he silently planned to express karma about how he considered and felt about her and what she meant to him. But all vanished at an instant and there he was-tight-lipped with guilt and embarrassment all around.
Back in the room, he was sleepless the whole night thinking about the incident at hotel. He felt pity on himself for being so primitive. He was frustrated and blamed his own fate. He asked himself: “If only I was raised in town and If only I knew some Chinese foods before, I would have her in my arms.”